Do you know how inexpensive chicken legs are? I had no idea. SP bought a club pack that was almost 4 1/2 pounds for about $4. That's 99 cents per pound, folks. Chicken breasts are at least $2.99/pound on sale, so this is a huge savings. My only problem is I'm not a huge fan of dark meat. I know it's more flavorful and easier to cook since it can handle being overcooked in a way white meat can't, but I'm still not sold. Even so, I figured I'd give dark meat a whirl with this recipe for Buttermilk Roast Chicken.
The key to this recipe is marinating the chicken for at least 24 hours. The flavor really soaked into the meat, although the end result was a tad salty for my tastes. And boy was the meat juicy. Delicious.
Even so, this recipe needed a little oomph. The flavor was there, but SP thought these legs would have been perfect with some time on the grill, both for added flavor and for texture. The skin on the legs was pale and rubbery instead of crispy. I've modified the directions below. If you can't grill, I'd recommend either broiling the legs once they're cooked or cooking them longer to crispy up the skin a bit.
Buttermilk Roast Chicken
Modified from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups buttermilk
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts
Drizzle of olive oil
Flaked or coarse sea salt
BBQ sauce, optional
Whisk buttermilk with garlic, salt, sugar, paprika and lots of freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Place chicken parts in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or lidded container) and pour buttermilk brine over them, then swish it around so that all parts are covered. Refrigerate for 24 and up to 48 hours.
When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil. Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and arrange in dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste. Roast for 30 minutes (for legs; approximately 35 to 40 for breasts), until brown and a bit scorched in spots.
Remove the legs from the oven and preheat a grill. If you don't have a grill, preheat your broiler or simply turn the oven up to 475 degrees. If grilling, remove the legs from the baking pan and grill until the skin is crispy. You can add BBQ sauce if you like, just brush onto each leg. If broiling or leaving in the oven, look for the skin to crisp up. Again, BBQ sauce is optional.